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Executive Team

Sanjay Bhakta, CPA, CGFM, CFE, CGMA
Deputy State Auditor

Sanjay Bhakta comes to the State Auditor’s Office from the Department of Finance & Administration (DFA).  While at DFA, he served in various capacities such as Chief Financial Officer, Administrative Services Director, and acting Local Government Division Director.

Prior to joining the DFA, Sanjay worked at the NM State Auditor’s office from 2004-2012. He started as a Senior Auditor and progressed through the rank of an Audit Supervisor and became an Audit Manager in 2011.

Prior to joining the State Government, Sanjay had a diverse career in the private sector. He worked as a Staff Auditor with Amin Parikh & Co., Chartered Accountants, in Baroda, India from 1981-1984.  He then worked for four years as the Internal Audit Manager for Metro Group, a manufacturing concern in Lagos, Nigeria. Sanjay moved to the United States in 1988 and worked as the Import Manager for a women’s wear company in New York from 1988 to 1990. He then became the Managing Partner of his family’s business of developing hospitality and food services outlets in New Jersey and spent fourteen years in that business prior to moving to New Mexico in 2004. 

Sanjay is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), Certified Government Financial Manager (CGFM), Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE) and Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA). Sanjay received his bachelor’s degree in Advanced Accounting & Auditing from SPU in Vidyanagar, India and master’s degree in Managerial Accounting & International Banking from MSU in Baroda, India.

Sunalei Stewart, JD, CFE
Chief of Staff

Sunalei Stewart, a native of Santa Fe, served as Deputy Commissioner of Public Lands from 2012 - 2015. Stewart oversaw the day-to-day operations of the 156 employee agency, managed legislative affairs, and coordinated policy development and strategic planning. Prior to joining the State Land Office, from 2004 -2012 he worked for former U.S. Senator Jeff Bingaman in various positions, including Legislative Director and Chief Counsel for the personal office. His responsibilities included managing the office’s legislative staff, developing and implementing domestic and foreign policy initiatives, and providing legal advice on legislative and non-legislative matters. Stewart also worked for the U.S. Department of State, Office of the Legal Adviser.

Stewart received his bachelor’s degree in political science and philosophy from the University of Arizona and his juris doctorate (magna cum laude) and master’s degree from American University. He is a member of the New Mexico State Bar (Active), California State Bar (Inactive) and Oregon State Bar (Inactive).  Stewart is also a Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE).

Sarita Nair, JD, MCRP
Chief Government Accountability Officer & General Counsel

Sarita Nair joined the OSA after being a private practice attorney, representing private companies and public entities in business and governance matters since 2004. She is AV-rated by Martindale Hubbell, and has been recognized by Best Lawyers, Southwest Super Lawyers, and Chambers & Partners USA. Before entering private practice, Sarita clerked for Judge Lynn Pickard at the New Mexico Court of Appeals. She graduated magna cum laude from the University of New Mexico School of Law. Prior to her law career, Sarita worked in the field of international development and consulted on policy initiatives for a number of organizations including the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean and the New York City Parks and Recreation Department. She earned a master’s degree from the University of New Mexico School of Community and Regional Planning and earned her bachelor’s degree from Wesleyan University. She is active in the community, having served on the boards of many nonprofits and legal groups.

Justine Freeman
Deputy Chief of Staff

Justine Freeman serves as Deputy Chief of Staff for the Office of the State Auditor. She was raised in New Mexico and went on to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political, Legal and Economic Analysis from Mills College and a Master of Arts degree in International Relations from San Francisco State University.
 
Prior to joining the OSA, Freeman served as a leadership analyst at the New Mexico State Legislature. Before returning to New Mexico, she worked in the field of international relations, specializing in gender equality efforts with Human Rights Watch in San Francisco, CA and Paris, France; USAID and the American Red Cross in Washington, DC; and grassroots development organizations in East Africa.